Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Simply Heritage: The Nashville Parthenon

Parthenon in Nashville, TN
I hope everyone is having a great week. On today's post, we are going to give you a little bit of information about a Tennessee Landmark.  I decided that since we are a blog about Tennessee, we should incorporate different facts from around the state.  The Parthenon is one of the least mentioned landmarks in Tennessee.  It was originally built in 1897, for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.  Nashville is often called the Athens of the South, and it only seemed appropriate to create a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece.  The building was not suppose to be permanent and was built with plaster, wood and brick.  After the event, the city decided not to demolish the structure since the local population and visitors from around the country had fallen in love with it. However, the building began to be weathered down over the next 20 years, so beginning in 1920, it was rebuilt as a permanent structure made of concrete. The exterior was completed in 1925 and the interior in 1931.

The Parthenon has been the backdrop to many theatrical events and even movies.  In 1913 and 1914, the Spring Pageants in Nashville held huge plays with up to 500 cast members at the steps of the building.  The productions included large dance numbers, chariot races, thousands of live birds and even set pieces that shot out flames.  Even today, the local theaters still have production plays at the Parthenon. The structure can been seen in movies and on made for TV series, including Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville, the 2010 film titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and the 2010 PBS series Greeks: Crucible of Civilization.

Athena Parthenos inside the Nashville Parthenon

Today, the Parthenon is a functioning art museum that stands at the center of Centennial Park which is just west of downtown Nashville.  In 1990, Alan LeQuire produced a complete recreation of the Athena Parthenos which was the center piece of the original Parthenon in ancient Greece.  The statue was recreated to the careful scholarly standards and towers at 42 feet tall. Actually, the entire building is carefully crafted to be an exact replica of the original temple. So, if you ever visit Nashville, be sure to swing by the Parthenon and enjoy experiencing a replicated piece of ancient Greece right here in Tennessee.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about a piece of Tennessee history.  Enjoy the rest of your week, and we'll see you on Friday with our Recipe of the Week! Till next time.

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